…To buy new 17 aircrafts
The Nigeria Airforce (NAF) is to take delivery of Tucano fighter jets from the United States in the first quarter of next year.
Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadsique Abubakar, who disclosed this at a budget defence with the House of Representatives committee on airforce said the jets will be deployed against Boko Haram and other insurgents when received.
He also informed that NAF is to acquire eight unmanned aerial vehicles from China and three 3JF17 thunder fighter aircrafts from Pakistan in 2021.
According to the COAS, the “Super Tucano, among others is capable of supporting basic and advanced fight and combat training, close air support operations, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), armed over watch counterinsurgency and irregular warfare scenarios.”
He said: “It is currently flown by 15 countries according to SNC”.
The COAS said NAF had acquired 22 aircrafts and would still buy 17 additional ones in 2021.
Speaking further, Abubakar informed that the runway at Kainji is to be repaired preparatory to the arrival of the Tucano. He said “The Super Tucano aircraft is coming to Kainji. The runway is not really good for now. We will not want to contract the job out due to paucity of funds.
“But we have our civil engineers that can be mobilized through direct labour to achieve repairs of that runway before the arrival of the Super Tucano in the second quarter of next year,” he explained.
On the 2021 budget, he disclosed that a “total of N147.045 billion has been proposed with N101 billion earmarked for personnel, N8.8bn and N31.4bn are ceiling issued to the NAF for overhead and capital estimates respectively .”
Meanwhile, the commandant of the Airforce Institute of Technology, Zaria, Air Vice Marshal Abdulganiyu Olabisi has requested for N4 billion to build and expand infrastructure at the school. He said the money will be used to build classrooms, ICT laboratory, library and staff quarters.
Olabisi made the request while defending the 2021 budget and giving an appraisal of the 2020 budget of the institute.